Sunday, April 26, 2015

More tales of two trailers: Jurassic World and Mad Max

In the first tales of two trailers, I posted the first theatrical trailers for the upcoming Star Wars and Jurassic World sequels.  I updated the progress of Star Wars twice since then, first in December, then in last week's Three Star Wars trailers: movie, television, and video game reviewed the latest trailer for Star Wars VII.  This week, it's Jurassic World's turn as its second theatrical trailer was released last week.

Like all the previous movies, this one serves as a cautionary tale about not being able to control the effects of our technologies.  I hope it's also as good a monster movie as the previous ones as well.  So far, I like the Mosasaurus, but I'm disappointed that the raptors are still scaly instead of feathery.  That's a change that was among those mentioned in Jurassic Park 20 years later and other paleontology news, so it should have been included.  I hope the movie justifies this omission.

Follow over the jump for another science fiction movie franchise being revived this summer, the post-apocalyptic Mad Max series.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Costa Rica and other green countries for Earth Day

On Earth Day, one of my students asked me which country was doing the best on renewable energy.  I answered Costa Rica, based on its using only renewable energy for electricity during the first 75 days of 2015, as Accuweather reported on Earth Day.
For the first 75 days of 2015, Costa Rica's 2.8 million citizens not only powered their homes and businesses with solely renewable energy sources, but cut costs as well.

As part of a nationwide clean energy campaign, Costa Rica challenged itself to run the entire country by using natural energy sources such as water, sunlight and wind.

Backed by the country's inhabitants, government agencies only stopped when resources diminished to the point that it was hurting the economy. Without any domestic oil or natural gas sources, importing such fuel supplies is costly, but necessary at the present time to keep up with import and export demands.
ODN has more in Costa Rica goes 75 days powering itself using only renewable energy.

Costa Rica manages to achieve a clean energy milestone by using only renewable energy for the first 75 days of the year - a record for any country. Report by Claire Lomas.
The student was impressed.  Of course, Costa Rica was still burning lots of gasoline and diesel in its cars, trucks, planes, and motorcycles, but at least it was completely renewable when it came to electricity.

Even so, Costa Rica may not have been the best answer, as Discovery News reported in Which Countries Are The Most Eco-Friendly?

As the world moves to become more environmentally friendly, some countries outshine others. Which country is the most eco-friendly?
In terms of renewable energy now, the answer may still be Costa Rica, but other countries, notably Switzerland and Sweden, may be better for the environment overall.  In addition, the image from EcoWatch at the top of the entry shows Norway ahead of Costa Rica as well.  Maybe I should follow up with that student about this information.

Friday, April 24, 2015

25 years of the Hubble Space Telescope

I interrupt the celebration of Earth Week on this blog to turn my attention skyward to mark the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.

I begin with Hubble Space Telescope itself, which posted Hubble at 25 on New Year's Eve.

This is a preview of the 13-part video series that will showcase the Hubble Space Telescope as it's never been seen before. For the past 25 years Hubble has transformed our view of the universe, become a cultural icon, and even contributed to medical technology, among its many other accomplishments.
Click here for the playlists that the video promises.  Follow over the jump for videos from Reuters and TomoNews US about today's anniversary.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Solar Impulse 2 lands in China on Earth Day

Last month, I reported Solar Impulse 2 begins round-the-world flight.  For what's left of Earth Day, it's time for an update, as On Demand News (formerly ITN) reports Solar plane arrives in eastern China's Nanjing.

The Solar Impulse 2 has arrived in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing, finishing the sixth leg of its voyage around the world. Report by Gabriella Darlington.
I promise to keep my readers posted on the future legs of the flight.  That should be easy since the plane is flying to Hawaii and then on to other cities in the U.S. afterwards.

I'm not done with Earth Day, as I have videos from CNN, WOOD-TV, and DNews still to come.  When I wrote "stay tuned for the final installment about posts from the back catalog that made big moves on the leaderboard last year after a celebration of Earth Day," I didn't say how long that celebration would be.  It could last for almost a week!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Michigan wind turbines for Earth Day

I included the family travels in my last driving update.
[M]y wife and I will have driven our car to Mount Pleasant and back to drop off a pair of dogs we rescued yesterday from a shelter in Flint.  That's a round trip of 280 miles, so Dez's odometer will have rolled over 46,000 miles by the end of the day...[T]hat's what happens when my wife and I take special trips of first 110 miles round trip to Flint and back and then 280 miles to Mount Pleasant and back.  Rescuing abandoned pets is a cause as dear to us as the environment, so it became a matter of priorities.
One county south of Mt. Pleasant, we passed by the largest wind farm I've ever seen.  Still photographs don't do the turbines justice.  For that, I have to use (someone else's) video.   Take it away, LadyB!

On my drive to Michigan, I spotted these wind turbines. A wind farm is what it was. I was told that these farmers earn a lot of money for allowing these on their land. I was amazed at the size and the number of them. They just seemed to go on forever. This video was taken with my vivitar camcorder and windows movie maker.
That's exactly the same reaction we had.  I told my wife that it felt like we were driving through a zone filled with wind turbines in an MMO.  It was that surreal and awe-inspiring.

LadyB and her subscribers had a lot of questions about the wind farm.  A lot of them are answered in Gratiot Wind posted nearly four years ago by Ben VanDerVeen.

Michigan's largest wind farm is currently under construction in Gratiot County. The development brings hundreds of new jobs, clean energy and opportunity for this farming community.
That answered my questions and gave me more information to pass along to my students just in time for Earth Day.  On that note, Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Reactionary movements for the fourth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

I concluded Holidays for the fourth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News with another program note.
I plan two more entries in this series, the next about movements I really detest and the last about winners from the back catalog.  Stay tuned.
Leading off tonight's retrospective about detestable reactionary movements is last year's 14th most read entry, What the Sith Jihad wants includes science crime scenes with 443 page views.  It earned its readership through promotion at first Greer's then Kunstler's blogs.  I shared the link at The Archdruid Report on June 25, 2014, the same day I posted it at my blog.
As for an "age of charismatic warlords," you're right; the U.S. isn't there yet, although I doubt it's a coincidence that one of our cultural icons is a tormented fictional mobster named after the high female voice in a choir, one that the real Governor of New Jersey is [nick]named after. On the other hand, one can look at two states in collapse, Iraq and Syria, and see what an organized band of would be 21st Century feudal warlords is doing over there.
I opened my comment a little differently at Clusterfuck Nation.
“ISIS is behaving in a psychopathic manner.”

No kidding, and they’re following the same playbook that the Taliban did in Afghanistan and Ansar Dine in Mali.
Even though I started the two comments differently I ended both the same way.
They seem to be intent on starting a Dark Age on fast forward by destroying the cultural artifacts of rival traditions, among their other violent acts...Yes, I call ISIS "The Sith Jihad." That's because I was twitting another blogger, Elaine Meinel Supkis, who thought they looked like Jedi. I told her that they looked more like Sith. My readers liked the comparison, so the name stuck.
Readers at both sites liked the Sith reference.  Here are the ones I got in the comments to Greer's post.
@Nathaniel Ott wrote: "@ Pinku-Sensei if it's alright with you I am totally stealing 'The Sith Jihad' for conversation with my fellow Star Wars nerd buddy who I'm sure is going to get drunk with the darkside and go absolutely bonkers over the term!"

Be my guest. It's a meme and memes are meant to be spread through imitation.

@Cherokee Organics wrote: "Hi Pinku. Haha! Liked the sith reference. Tidy work."

Thank you. If it weren't for Elaine Meinel Supkis providing the inspiration, I probably wouldn't have thought of it.
At Kunstler's blog, the quote I responded to and included attracted the attention.
Seawolf77: I disagree. They are wholly calculating. They are goading America and the West to come back in; in fact they are begging. To tell you the truth I am surprised they haven’t found some babies in incubators and … well you get the picture.

Me: The two claims, that ISIS AKA the Sith Jihad is psychopathic and that it is acting in a calculated manner, are not mutually exclusive. Psychopaths can be quite calculating. As for the American response, give it time.
The Sith Jihad has continued with their science and culture crime scenes, but I only managed to post once more about them, wishing May Pazuzu curse the Sith Jihad.  As for the U.S. response, that took only a couple of months, with the fear premium returning as U.S. bombed the Sith Jihad in August.

Follow over the jump for other entry about detestable reactionary movements that made last year's top 20.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Gulf oil spill five years later

Today is the fifth anniversary of the oil rig explosion that led to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  CNN summarizes the effects of the disaster in Revisit the BP oil spill, 5 years later.

Remnants remain five years after a BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 people.
Follow over the jump for more videos from MSNBC and National Geographic.

My Serious Kitten nominations

I opened Three Star Wars trailers: movie, television, and video game by writing that it was the first to two Sunday entertainment entries and concluded the entry by telling my readers to "Stay tuned for a follow-up to 2015 Hugo nominees for movies and television."  I left some business unfinished in that post.
That brings me to the controversy.  Neither snubbed movie was on the slate put forth by Sad Puppies, which is loosely affiliated with GamerGate, but three of the five nominees were.  In fact, a lot of the nominees for other categories were on that slate, which led to a lot of gnashing of teeth among fans.  I might return to this later, but I have to cut this entry short to go to work.  Until then, read A.V. Club's This year's Hugo Award nominees are a messy political controversy for an explanation.
Follow over the jump for the response to the ballot stuffing scandal from We Hunted the Mammoth, which was to start their own awards, along with my nominations for the awards.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Three Star Wars trailers: movie, television, and video game

Last week, not one, not two, but three trailers for new Star Wars products were released, one each teasing the movie, a new season of a TV show, and a video game.  For the first of two Sunday entertainment entries, I take a break from DOOM to present all three, along with reactions to the movie trailer.

I begin with the trailer generating the most buzz, the one for the upcoming movie.

Follow over the jump for reactions along with the two other trailers.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Holidays for the fourth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

I concluded DOOM for the fourth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News with a preview of coming attractions.
Stay tuned for another recurring theme in the next entry in this series, holidays.  I love holidays!
The most read entry that celebrated a special day during the blogging year that ended on March 20th was Evolution humor for Darwin Day posted on February 12, 2015.  It earned 487 page views to land in 11th place on the most read list.  I explained how it earned those page views in Montly meta: top ten entries for February 2015.
I intended Evolution humor for Darwin Day as a throwaway humor entry for the first of a string of holidays.  It ended up being a runaway success, as Infidel 753 on Blogspot placed it first in a series of links, resulting in more than 50 visits, then I promoted it at Greer's blog, where it got at least 33 referrals.  It earned 439 page views by Noon Monday, good enough for second place.
Here's what I posted at The Archdruid Report.
Greer: The popular notion of progress presupposes that there’s an inherent dynamic to history, that things change, or tend to change, or at the very least ought to change, from worse to better over time.  That presupposition then gets flipped around into the even more dubious claim that just because something’s new, it must be better than whatever it replaced."

Me: That observation doesn't just apply to technology.  It also applies to biological evolution and cultural practices as well.  When I observed Darwin Day last week, I posted two cartoons showing how dinosaurs evolving into birds may have been a winner in terms of surviving the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, but it was a loser in terms of being the dominant group of land animals, at least in terms of size and position in the food web.  The result was that the genes benefitted, but the individual suffered.  Progress?  Not if you started off as one of the raptor dinosaurs and ended up as a chicken.
Greer thanked me for the cartoons.  He's quite welcome.

Follow over the jump for another holiday entry from this past year plus one posted near the end of the third year that earned most of its page views during the fourth year.